Monday, June 11, 2007

Do it Yourself!

One of the best ways that my wife and I have found to save money is to learn how to make and do things for ourselves, things that we would normally buy.

The best way to learn these things is by doing them, and my main example today is going to be cooking, because it's something that everyone can do, and food is a universal need. Also it is a skill that is easy to start, and can take a lifetime to master.

"So, what's for dinner?"

If you've never cooked before, don't start with a 4-course meal, you quadruple your chances that something will go wrong & you will become frustrated and disappointed. Instead, find things that are really easy to make and improve on them. (store-bought macaroni and cheese is vastly improved with a spoonful of salsa mixed in for example) You are trying to establish a base of knowledge, you should be able to judge how long things will take, and what will go well with what.

Be ready to learn from your mistakes.

There are two things you can do when you make a mistake, give up, or press on. Giving up means wasted food, time, and money. Pressing on could lead to a spectacular success or a spectacular failure, this will be okay though, because you've learned a lesson you'll never forget.

Learn from others.

Do you know someone who is an excellent cook? Ask them if you could help them prepare a meal, don't expect them to reveal secret recipes, but you should be able to observe certain behaviors that lead to success in the kitchen.

Get feedback.

All criticism is good when learning a new skill. If your son tells you that the food was a bit too salty, you know that when grandma comes you leave the salt out on the table to season to taste. Even very negative comments do have a root of truth in them, and may hold the key to perfecting your skill.

...When all else fails.

You can always order a pizza, that's what you were doing before you started cooking anyways right?

Feel free to leave any recipes here in the comments section!

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